Beginners Guide: How to Work Out From Home

If you’re looking to jump-start your fitness routine, there are many aspects to consider when deciding between a traditional gym and an at-home workout. This article aims to help you weigh the pros and cons of each, as well as provide insight as to what constitutes ideal at-home workouts for beginners. 

Home Workouts vs. the Gym

Exercising at a gym lets you choose from a variety of equipment, but a successful workout regimen doesn’t hinge on the use of 10 different machines. Most at-home workouts for beginners actually require little, if any, equipment to achieve their goals. This means that you can begin exercising right away with little investment. On the flipside, gyms charge monthly fees, trapping patrons in extended contracts that must be paid in full, whether you’re actually using your membership. 

Working out at home also means the gym doesn’t dictate your fitness time. You can schedule a workout that fit your schedule independent of business hours or when the gym is empty enough for comfortable use. 

Some people find the atmosphere of the gym inspiring; others find it downright terrifying. Many people are uncomfortable with public workouts for a variety of reasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that. At-home workouts for beginners allow you to build confidence, strength, and stamina at your own pace without extreme fatigue. You never have to compare yourself or fear others’ judgment. 

Gyms indeed provide an opportunity to socialize, but working out at home doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it alone. Working out with a friend or engaging in supportive online communities can help you stay connected. NerdFitness and MyFitnessPal are two reputable online communities, but feel free to do more research to find a fitness culture that fits you best. 

While gym workouts give you access to professionals who can answer any questions, basing your workouts from home doesn’t necessarily relinquish this advantage. In fact, the internet is an excellent research tool, and several professional trainers create online educational videos for free that you can follow along with. You can also purchase DVDs where trained fitness coaches instruct you on the proper form and use of equipment at home. 

Home workouts can be 100% tailored to fit your needs, so there’s really nothing a gym provides that you can’t account for yourself.

Designing a Space for At-Home Workouts for Beginners

The beauty of your home gym is that it will be personally customized to your needs and budget. To begin with, you should only buy what you intend to use. This may seem like obvious advice, but it’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of starting a new hobby. Good basics to consider when deciding what to purchase are: 

  • Free weights
  • Kettlebells
  • Resistance bands
  • Dumbbells 
  • Exercise mat

Depending on your budget and space, you can also invest in a cardio machine, such as a treadmill or an elliptical. However, no machines are necessary to get in a good cardio workout. A simple 30-minute run is typically enough to achieve a good cardio workout. You can also look up HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts that primarily rely on your body weight.

Figuring out your budget and fitness goals is the best place to start before deciding to make any purchases. You can choose from equipment such as weightlifting machines, treadmills, and instructional fitness DVDs.

Exercise balls, dumbbells, resistance bands or tubing, and a combination of pushup and pullup bars are relatively inexpensive and provide multiple uses. It’s good to consider equipment that can be used for a variety of exercises.

However, if you don’t want to or are unable to purchase equipment, there are some great YouTube instructional videos that only require your body’s own resistance for a full-body workout. Fitness experts like Caleb Marshall combine the rhythms of chart-topping tunes with fat-burning movements for free routines so engaging that you barely realize you’re working out.  You can also do resistance training such as pushups, situps, and jogging – none of which cost you a cent.


Getting Into Working Out

Every workout should begin with a light cardio warmup. It may seem like a waste of time, but warmups are a vital part of a successful exercise – preparing your body by increasing blood flow, loosening joints and muscles, and getting you into the right mindset. Warming up also helps prevent injuries. Warmups only need to take between five and 10 minutes of your time. 

Once you’re warmed up, it’s important to move into a more intense cardio workout. Cardiovascular workouts should be approximately 30 minutes for beginners, but the most important thing is to listen to your body. While you may want to challenge yourself, you don’t want to overdo it, as this could cause injury or deter you from future workouts. Make sure that your cardio workout is getting you to your target heart rate.

Cardio should be followed by strength training, which will help build lean muscles to increase your overall health. Your strength training workout should be about 20 to 30 minutes, with sets of 10 to 15 repetitions three times. An example of this would be 10 pushups, 10 pullups, and 10 situps repeated three times. 

There are two types of strength training styles: isometric and isotonic. Isometric exercises are more about endurance, for example, holding a plank position until you no longer can. On the other hand, isotonic exercises require more motion and can be more easily combined with cardio. If you have suffered an injury, isometric workouts can be helpful for recovery. Your workout routines should include a mixture of the two.

Many people tend to focus on either cardio or strength training; however, you can combine them into one workout for efficiency. You should aim to incorporate cardio and strength training workouts into your routine at least three times a week.

Finish off with a five- to 10-minute cooldown. Many people like to perform reduced versions of their warmups during this portion of their workout, using more relaxed, less intense movements.  Like the warmup, your cooldown is an important part of your routine and should not be skipped. The cooldown phase gradually lowers your heart rate and can prevent injuries and soreness.


Example of an At-Home Workout for Beginners

Begin with five minutes of dancing to a song or two that really gets you inspired to sweat. Music’s association with recreation will help mentally ease you into the workout and set a positive tone for your session. Throw in some leg and arm stretches to keep your body limber. Remember, you’re not trying to impress anyone, just gently raising your heart rate. Move onto a 20-minute jog, followed by three sets of 10 burpees, 10 bicycle crunches, 10 kettlebell squats, and one-minute planks

The burpees, bicycle crunches, and kettlebell squats all combine strength training with dynamic movement, and the length of time that you hold a plank ensures your heart rate will stay raised. Combining strength training and cardio workouts means you can complete your workout in 40 minutes rather than an hour. 

If your workout is particularly strenuous, spend a little longer on your cooldown. Ten minutes of light stretching will help your heart rate gradually come down, while also helping to reduce soreness.


Injury Prevention

Stretching before and after your workout is a good way to ensure your body is loose and flexible for exercise and should never be skipped. 

Listening to your body is probably the most important component of injury prevention. If something feels too strenuous or doesn’t feel right, don’t push your body’s boundaries. Whether you’re following a workout or trying a challenge you found online, remember that each person’s body is different – and you have to do what’s right for you regardless of the capabilities of others. 

Part of listening to your body is also paying attention to your breathing. As we exercise, we require oxygen to support our bodies. If your breaths are haggard or sharp, you may not be getting enough oxygen. Remember, you can always slow down and return to a more rhythmic breathing pattern in the middle of your workout.


Tips for Sticking to Your Workout

  • Create a workout playlist that keeps you energized and motivated.
  • Work out early in the morning before the day’s distractions pile up.
  • Schedule your workout for when you can give it your full attention.
  • Find a workout buddy to increase accountability. This can be a friend you know in person or an online community.
  • Challenge yourself with new exercises. It can be exciting to watch your body grow stronger and more limber. 
  • Get inspiration from the internet. The internet is a treasure trove of insights, quotes, and unfamiliar fitness methods to experiment with. Make it work for you!
  • Set goals and track your progress. Not only does this keep you accountable to yourself, but also it can give you a source of pride on the days when you don’t feel like working out.
  • Reinforce your exercise with other good habits, such as adhering to a healthy diet and getting sufficient sleep.
  • Remember: Starting is the most difficult part. If you’re having an “off day,” start with 10 minutes of exercise and see where it goes. You might only get in 10 minutes, or you may surprise yourself and find that you complete your full workout.

No matter your reasons for committing to fitness with at-home workouts for beginners, be kind to yourself. You deserve patience and understanding. If you miss a day or goal, don’t berate yourself. You can resume your fitness journey at any point. It’s important to remember that both good and bad habits are built with continual reinforcement. As long as you try your hardest, you can consider your efforts a success.